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THIELLS, N.Y. — Baseball purists consider the strategy of the game an art form.
With aggressive base running, bunting, and timely hitting, John Jay-East Fishkill (1-0) painted a masterpiece on Tuesday afternoon with a 10-3 victory over North Rockland (2-2). The Patriots stole eight bases including a double steal, executed a suicide squeeze bunt, and took advantage of four North Rockland errors.
“Our coaches stress having a good approach at the plate and we’re a real smart team on the bases,” Ryan Kaplan said. “As much as we can take advantage of our aggressive and smart play, we will.”
Kaplan was the quintessential leadoff man for John Jay on the day going 2-for-3 with two runs scored and an RBI. He was on base four times and gave the Patriots the lead in the third inning by stealing third base and taking home on the errant throw.
“My job as a leadoff man is to give the rest of my teammates the chance to see the opposing pitcher’s different pitches and his pickoff moves,” Kaplan said. “Other than that, I do whatever I can to get on base and score runs.”
John Jay broke open a close game in the sixth inning by scoring three runs with two outs. Kaplan reached on a single and moved to third on an error in centerfield. Kaplan scored on a wild pitch, and Jay Coscio picked up an RBI with an infield single. After a single by Doug Elser, Coscio scored on a double steal to put the Patriots up 7-2.
“North Rockland is a great program, you can see all their banners when you walk in here,” John Jay coach Tom O’Hare said. “So we wanted to continue to build a lead against a program like them especially when they swing the bats so well.”
North Rockland did just that in the seventh inning adding three more insurance runs, including a suicide squeeze by Chris Pinto, the designated hitter in the nine hole. Pinto, who also had a double, finished 2-for-4 with two runs batted in.
Besides Pinto’s RBI-double from the ninth spot, George Howell ripped an RBI-double from the seventh hole.
“We have a very dominant lineup one through nine,” Pinto said. “We’re going to be aggressive throughout the entire game at the plate and on the bases to take advantage of that.”
John Jay received a strong outing from its number one pitcher, Tyler Kardas, who went five innings. Kardas scattered six hits, gave up two runs, and struck out three.
North Rockland’s Nick Connell went 1-for-2 with a double and a run scored. Joe Anselmi also finished 1-for-2 with a run scored. He added an RBI.
Follow John Malone on Twitter @MSGV_Malone